Mass of the Americas was the first musical work commissioned by the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship. In 2018 His Excellency Salvatore J. Cordileone, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, noted the exact coincidence of two feasts in that year: The Immaculate Conception and the celebration of the Guadalupana, the festive observance of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This inspired him to hold a liturgical observance uniting the two traditions, honoring Our Lady under both titles. For the occasion he commissioned composer Frank La Rocca to create music for a Mass incorporating, in the manner of Renaissance paraphrase Masses, traditional Mexican melodies, especially “La Guadalupana.” He asked La Rocca to craft with music what the Franciscan friars of the Mission Era had crafted with church architecture: at once keeping with Catholic sacred traditions and reflecting contributions of local culture—both timeless and timely.
The mission of The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship is to open the door of Beauty to God. The Institute provides resources for more beautiful and reverent liturgy and seeks to renew a Catholic culture of the arts. The Benedict XVI Institute’s most recent commissions from composer-in-residence Frank La Rocca will form its next recording release, the Requiem Mass for the Homeless and Missa Sancti Juníperi Serra, honoring the founder of the California Missions. Learn more at BenedictInstitute.org.